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Depression During Unemployment

What is depression? According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a mood disorder that produces a persistent sense of despair and loss of interest. Furthermore, it is called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression. It has an impact on how you feel, think, and behave, and it may lead to several emotional and physical issues. As a result, you may have difficulty doing routine daily chores, and you may feel as if life is not worth living at times. MayoClinic, in the February 2018 article, mentioned that depression is not a weakness, and you can not simply "snap out" of it. However, depression may require long-term treatment. But do not get discouraged; most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy, or both, said MayoClinic.


Symptoms of Depression: 

· Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness 

· Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even over small matters 

· Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much 

· The loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports.


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How does unemployment affect one’s mental state: 


The Health Foundation June 2021 research mentions that the relationship between mental health and unemployment is bi-directional. As a result, good mental health has a pivotal influence on employability, finding a job, and remaining in that job. The Health Foundation added that unemployment causes stress, which ultimately has long-term physiological health effects and can negative impact on people's mental health, including depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem. 


This is how it affects mental health Health Foundation mentioned that preventing unemployment arising in the first place through the “gradual phasing out of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme(CJRS) (rather than a sudden end).” Moreover, they added that job development schemes and employment support programs should concentrate on sectors with high vacancies.


It further stated that the social security system should support people with poor mental health by “providing an adequate income, which (at a minimum) means making the Universal Credit uplift permanent, as well as tailoring job-seeking activity expectations and help to find employment for persons with poor mental health.


It further gives us insight on how to solve this problem which is to design employment programs to support better mental health with personalized interventions for people with mental health problems. 


Therefore there should be a focus on securing good quality work, as well as skills training to address underlying barriers to employment (such as low qualification levels).” In addition, promoting mental health and well-being is a core requirement of the Sustainable Development Goals.


For instance, the World Health Organisation(WHO) reports that depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide with more than a 300million people affected. Youth and other population groups' quality of life suffer from poor mental health. The goals recognize the growing threat of mental health challenges globally. 


The World Health Organisation(WHO) also stated that joblessness can lead to stress and frustration that negatively affects mental health. Mental health policies and interventions should address an individual's life phases as a way to integrate both prevention and treatment for mental health concerns.


Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), on 23 August 2022, issued the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q2: 2022. In addition, the statistics show that 648 000 jobs were added during the first and second quarters of 2022. In the second quarter of 2022, the official unemployment rate was 33.9%.


According to Statistics South Africa, the highest employment growth was in Community and Social Services (276 000), Trade (169 000), Finance (128 000), and Construction (104 000). However, employment losses occurred in Manufacturing (73 000) and Transportation (54 000). Furthermore, the total number of people employed in the second quarter of 2022 was 15,6 million.


“The number of unemployed persons increased by 132 000 to 8,0million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter. The number of discouraged work-seekers decreased by 183 000 (4,9%), and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 452 000 (3,3%) between the two quarters resulting in a net decrease of 635 000 in the not economically active population. In 2021, South Africa had the highest unemployment rate in the world, at 34 percent. Of the ten countries with the highest unemployment rates, eight were in Sub-Saharan Africa”, stated Statistics SA.


Positive and Negative Effects 


Statistics further state that unemployment is a real concern around the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 6.7 million jobless people in the United States as of February 2018. Furthermore, while some of these individuals may not want to work, many wish they did. The negative consequences of unemployment outweigh the positive effects. As a result, unemployment hurts the economy. Therefore, more people are unemployed means less money is spent. In addition, the effects of unemployment can be economic, but they can also be seen in areas like crime.




“The only positive effects of unemployment are individual.” Heather Burdo, in the October 2018 article in BizFluent mentioned a few positive and negative examples.


Heather advises that “avoiding morning commute” helps many people despise rush hour traffic on their commute to work. To be unemployed means no more waking up early to avoid heavy traffic.


She further adds that more time with family and friends will help as this is a strong positive effect of unemployment for an individual. They have the opportunity to spend time with their children, family, and friends.



“The negative effects far outweigh the positive effects when it comes to the impact unemployment has on society and the individual,” says Heather.


She furthermore states that not having enough money is one of the adverse effects on the individual. Everything in the world costs money. Because there is no source of income, you will have to settle and go without it. 


Burdo mentions that health issues are another individual negative effect but an important one. Because being unemployed can lead to depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and other mental health issues, especially if an individual truly wants a job but can not find employment. [...].


Despite economic issues, Heather says that there is no income during unemployment, which leads to poverty. Therefore, the debt load will rise, causing financial problems. Moreover, the state and federal governments must intervene and give unemployment compensation. Whereas, to provide more of these benefits, the government must borrow money or cut spending in other areas.


Lastly, She stated that social issues arise from many crimes committed by unemployed and impoverished persons. Hence, when unemployment rates rise, so do crime rates. According to a study in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology in 2016, " individuals who are unemployed for socially unacceptable reasons and do not wish to seek out job opportunities are more likely to engage in burglary or robbery.” 


Edited by Sara Irfan

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